A mother and former Paralympic swimmer has opened up about being banned from going on a children’s merry-go-round at Dreamworld theme park.
Karni Liddell, who has a muscle wasting condition and uses a wheelchair, said she was ‘humiliated’ after being booted from the ride in front of her three-year-old son.
‘I was told I wasn’t allowed to go on this kid’s ride because I’m a risk because I’m in a wheelchair,’ she said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.
Karni Liddell (pictured) with a young competitor at a Sporting Wheelies event in Queensland
Ms Liddell (pictured) posted a video to Facebook saying she was furious after being banned from the ride
‘Now I have to go to first aid to tell some person there about a disease that I have – that no one in the world knows about – so they can give me a certificate to see if I can go on any ride at Dreamworld.’
Ms Liddell, who is a disability advocate and Queensland ambassador for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, then posted a picture of the pass which lists certain rides the theme park deemed safe for her to go on.
She said the ‘non medical supervisor’ at the first aid office asked her personal questions about her condition to assess whether she was a risk and then spelt her name incorrectly on the pass.
‘[They] couldn’t understand why I was crying after being yanked off the donkey ride in front of a queue of people and leaving my three-year-old on there by himself,’ Ms Lidell said.
‘He asked me if I can walk and my reply was ‘I walked onto the ride, got in and sat down and then got out and walked back to my wheelchair!’ I am so bloody upset.’
While Ms Liddell’s posts were met with an outpouring of support, one person commented the theme park’s troubled past could be the reason she was deemed a risk.
In a statement on Thursday, Dreamworld said any guests with an injury or using a device such as a wheelchair were subject to extra policies.
The ticket (pictured) Ms Liddell received from the Dreamworld first aid office allowing her to go on certain rides
‘Guests with injuries or using mobility devices are requested to attend Dreamworld’s Park Health facility for a rider assessment,’ a spokesperson said.
‘The guest in question presented at an attraction using a mobility device and was asked to visit Park Health for a rider assessment.
‘They were cleared to safely enjoy all of Dreamworld’s operating attractions by a trained team member and were also offered Ride Express for the inconvenience of time lost due to being asked to visit the facility, which they declined.’
Dreamworld this month referred two incidents at the Gold Coast theme park to Queensland’s safety watchdog.
One of the incidents occurred on the high-speed Triple Vortex slide at WhiteWater World and the other at Dreamworld when a three-tonne arm reportedly fell off the Pandemonium ride during maintenance.
The two near-misses reportedly follow an incident on the Fully6 waterslide last month, which left a young girl seriously injured.
WHSQ issued an improvement order for the ride but this has been paused after the park’s management team requested a review of the notice.
Last month an eight-year-old girl allegedly suffered ‘horrific genital injuries’ (pictured left in hospital after emergency surgery) on a ride at WhiteWater World theme park
‘WhiteWater World acquired the water slide from a top tier manufacturer who supplies water slides globally,’ the spokeswoman said.
‘Our operation of the slide is strictly in accordance with the requirements of the manufacturer which we have verified was the case on the day of the recent event.’
The popular tourist park shot to infamy in 2016 when four holidaymakers were killed on a poorly-maintained Dreamworld ride.
Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi died when a water pump on the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned, causing water levels to fall dangerously low.
Their raft collided with another after becoming stuck in the low water and partially flipping, flinging the group into the mechanised conveyor that moved the rafts.
The malfunction was the third that day and the fifth in a week.
No automated shutdown function had been installed despite improvement recommendations from engineers.
Ms Goodchild’s 12-year-old daughter and Ms Low’s 10-year-old son survived the incident.
The Thunder River Rapids ride was one of Dreamworld’s most popular attractions until four people lost their lives on the ride in 2016
Dreamworld’s parent company Ardent Leisure was fined $3.6 million – the largest-ever imposed in Queensland for a workplace tragedy – in September after earlier pleading guilty to safety charges.
In February, an inquest into the deaths found there was a ‘systemic failure’ at Dreamworld in all aspects of safety.
Coroner James McDougall said there had been no thorough engineering risk assessment of TTRR in the 30 years it was open to the public.
Dreamworld presented itself as a modern, world-class theme park, but its ‘frighteningly unsophisticated’ safety procedures were ‘rudimentary at best’, he said while delivering his findings.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Dreamworld and Ardent Leisure for further comment.